Place Memory Is Intact in Rats With Perirhinal Cortex Lesions

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Two experiments compared the effects of bilateral lesions of the hippocampal formation (HPC) or perirhinal cortex (PRh) on rats' performance of an allocentric spatial working memory task—delayed matching-to-place (DMTP) in a water maze. DMTP trials consisted of paired swims, and the hidden platform was moved to a new location on each trial. Performance was assessed with intervals between the first and second swim (i.e., retention delays) of 4, 30, 120, and 300 s. The rats received extensive presurgery training in Experiment 1 and no presurgery training in Experiment 2. In both experiments, rats with HPC lesions displayed DMTP deficits at all delays, taking longer and swimming farther to find the platform on the second swims than did sham-operated controls. By contrast, rats with PRh lesions displayed normal DMTP acquisition and performance. The results suggest that, unlike the functions of HPC, those of PRh are not critical for allocentric spatial working memory.

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